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*Image: Saint Peter in Prayer by Matthias Stom, c. 1633-1640 [National Museum in Warsaw, Poland]

By Randall Smith, The Catholic Thing, Jan. 24, 2023

Randall B. Smith is a Professor of Theology at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas. His latest book is From Here to Eternity: Reflections on Death, Immortality, and the Resurrection of the Body.

A former student texted me with this question: “We ask God for things that we want to happen, but we also want to surrender to Him. So how do these two work together?”

I texted back: “God’s smart that way.”

This was not exactly a theologically sophisticated answer, but in my defense, I’m terrible at texting. I can never hit all the right letters when I’m trying to punch those darn little buttons. So I thought this was probably the best I could do in a text.

I prefer in-person conversations. When people ask questions like this, there’s usually something else going on.  The proper response is: “That’s a very good question, but before we talk about it, what’s really your question?”  As C. S. Lewis once suggested, difficulties of faith are more often due to a lack of sleep than the result of serious rational objections.  And as it turned out, my student was suffering from tonsillitis.  …